Adults can get tetanus and diphtheria vaccine boosters every 30 years instead of the recommended 10 years, a new study suggests. “We have always been told to get a tetanus shot every 10 years, but actually, there is very little data to prove or disprove that timeline," say researchers behind the new study conducted in the US.
For the study, the investigators examined immunity levels in over 500 adults. The researchers found that after completing the standard five-dose childhood vaccine series, adults remain protected against tetanus and diphtheria for at least 30 years without the need for further booster shots.
The researchers said a simplified age-based vaccination schedule for adults could involve a single booster vaccination at age 30 and another one at age 60. By using a simple age-based system, people would only have to remember to get their shots when they turn 30 and again when they turn 60.
The study authors noted that the World Health Organization recommends only a single adult booster vaccination during military service or when a woman becomes pregnant for the first time. The United Kingdom and some other countries recommend no adult booster shots at all.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tetanus and diphtheria are infections caused by bacteria. Tetanus-causing bacteria can enter the body through cuts, scratches or wounds. Diphtheria can spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Both infections can cause severe complications.